[Sorcerer] Sorcerers in Suburbia...

Started by The Dragon Master, October 01, 2010, 12:30:53 AM

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The Dragon Master

So this is going to be my first actual campaign with Sorcerer, which I'm very excited about.

The group:
The group is Indie Explosion and we're currently running an open gaming table at a comic store near ASU. We're a bunch of guys who've been trying to get a group together to run some indie games for a while, and just happened to meet up in the last year or so.

The players:
Eric- long time player who is also (if I recall correctly) a game designer on the side (aren't we all?). He's run a couple games for the group so far (Fiasco and 3:16) and has a small stack of other games he is ready to run when his turn comes round again.

Del- Long time player who is the founder of our group. He's run a couple games of Shab Al-hiri Roach, and has run a chargen session of Trail of Cthulhu (just before the group fell apart last time round).

Paul- I'm not overly clear on Pauls gaming history. I know he plays in the HotB LARP in town, and that's all I'm terribly certain of.

Michael- I don't know much about his history, though I get the impression he's much more used to a more "traditional" gaming system (i.e, DnD, GURPS, etc).

Myself- I've been gaming for closing on 4 or 5 years now. Started with oWoD, Exalted, Shadowrun, Rifts, and came to the conclusion about 8 months ago that I'd really rather never game again than to play a game in any of those systems. I have been nursing a desire for games with more of an indie/niche mindset for the better part of 4 years and have set for myself the goal of running or playing Sorcerer, Heroquest, Burning Empires, and Lacuna before this year is out (no, I don't expect to achieve that, but I think I can get most of the way there).

The characters:
Dennis Rigs (Eric) - He's a drug smuggler currently living at home with his mother and siblings. His kicker is that his last shipment was laced with something nasty, his kid sister got her hands on some and is now in the hospital.
His Demon (Ned) is an inconspicuous demon who looks like his reflection.
   Need: Emotional and Physical pain
   Desire: Power

Richard Stanislowski (Paul) - He's a retired used car dealership owner who currently volunteers as a crossing gaurd for the local elementary school. His kicker is that one of the kids was kidnapped while crossing at his stop, the skidmarks left occult symbols, and he received a letter in the mail shortly afterwords from a woman who'd been in his commercials with a ransom note she'd received for the child, and a paternity test proving him the father (or the kids grandfather, but we're still nailing that down).
His Demon (Coyote Chris) is an inconspicuous demon that takes the form of a DJ on 66.6FM. Think of him as being kind of like Wolfman Jack, except he misunderstood why the wolf howl was "cool", and is using a coyote's yip with intention of having the same effect. We've settled on that all his demons will take the form of DJs on this station, each with their own personality and way to communicate with him. Chris does so with broad messages that frequently make no sense (using the ability Hint).
   Need: Family infighting
   Desire: Sensual Gratification (christening of new auto's)

Lianne (Dell) - She's a housewife who is perfectly coiffed at all times (yes, all times). Her kicker is that she's received blackmail photo's of her husband in compromising sexual positions with numerous men, including a member of her PTA chapter.
Her Demon (Li-Li) is a passer demon who looks just like her, and is obsessed with turning the family into the perfect "image" of themselves. Unbeknownst to Lianne, LiLi has the Spawn ability, and can create duplicates of herself to accomplish her tasks.
   Need: Knowledge of self (i.e, Lianne, this is a common need for dopplegangers, making them a dangerous ally).
   Desire: Turn family into the "perfect image" of a family.

Alex VonKuder (Michael) - He's a student at the local high school and is a member of a coven. His kicker is that he got all Fs on his report card, and his folks are threatening to throw him out if he doesn't turn it around by end of the semester. Things are a bit complicated by the fact that he used his infant half sister in a ritual sacrifice to summon his demon.
His Demon (Thomas) is a possessor demon who took over the body of the schools head quarterback, and now acts as his muscle.
   Need: destruction (I'll have a more detailed one eventually, though I don't have a clear one now).
   Desire: Power (within the high school)


In our first session I decided to establish the type of scene framing I wanted to stick with, among other things. The first thing I did was explain to the group how the mechanics are not about how physics works in this world, but rather are about the narrative importance of things. Basically a quick synopsis of the Sorcerer Unbound article to that effect. I then showed them the kind of scene framing I was looking towards using, albeit by accident. Basically I'm framing scenes without regard to their chronological order.

Our first scene used a bang I'd whipped up for Dennis (yes, I'll be using the characters names throughout when referring to them). The bang is that the U-Store-It where he keeps his stash is found unlocked. After a quick discussion with Ned about who had gotten inside, and when (which went nowhere since Ned had blown off his duties that night), Dennis had Ned take a look around and found a "shoe" inside, along with an open bottle of draino laying open on the floor. When Dennis went inside he found that he shoe was infact connected to the leg of someone who'd decided to take a swig of draino during his stay. Checking his pockets revealed a very poor fake ID, and a bank receipt that showed several hundred dollars had been withdrawn recently, as well as a plain white business card with the fake number that Dennis' stripper girlfriend hands out to customers. While trying to dispose of the body the person finally died (no, he hadn't checked yet) and... let's just say he found some evidence the guy was a drug mule with a package for delivery. Dennis tossed the body to Ned to dispose of, and we ended the scene.

Our next scene takes place the night before at the local PTA meeting where these IDs were being discussed. A man who (by rough physical description) is the boy from the previous scene's father is arguing about the sales and demanding something be done about it. In the back of the room the kids are all huddled together, and are clearly engaged in some kind of commerce. Lianne notices the exchange and rushes to the back to catch the kids in the act. She grabs the boy handing out the cards by the ear and makes to take the cards from his hand. A demon snatches the cards before she is able to do so, and takes the boys fingers with them. Thinking quickly Lianne knocks a pocket knife from the boys person into his blood so it looks like he cut his own fingers off. And the scene ends as he is rushed to the hospital.

We cut over to Richard at home browsing an occult community Necronomi.com to see what new information he can scavenge from those clearly too ignorant to really know what they're talking about (price: Arrogant Sorcerer, -1 on rolls against other sorcerers), and runs across a mention of the symbol he saw in the tire tracks. The person who responds has a username of NEWB and has only made one post. However a quick scan of the post shows that he knows enough to plant a few red herrings in his message, and he's been scouring the boards for a year before he ever made this post. Richard tried to trace him through his IP, but gave up after finding that his own computer was on the list of systems the packets had passed through. So he went to his car to get some info from Coyote Chris about where this guy is located. He was given some clues that this person can be found attached to the local Rotary Club, which doubles as a coven. Unfortunately he failed his stamina roll, and wound up with a migraine, which his wife walked in on, leading to an argument between the two of them (and a very happy Chris whose need was satisfied).

The last scene of the night was with Alex, and took place earlier in the same evening. He met up with his friend Yassim Lopez, whose uncle Wong is Dennis' supplier, and they got to talking about a gig for their band, which requires them to drive 300 miles away on a school night (a bang I thought up on the fly). About this time is when Yassim told Alex about a "place" his uncle told him about that they should check out. This led to them going to the U-Store-It, where the lock was already off, and they went inside to poke around. They opened the stash they found and took out enough for a couple blunts, then remixed it all so the packages all looked even. They ran into Ned while there, but were too stoned to acknowledge that the reflection in the mirror wasn't their own.

By that point it was late and we all needed to be getting home. But it wasn't bad for our first play session. That being said, I was still having trouble coming up with appropriate bangs for all the characters (especially for Lianne, whose kicker I'm struggling to really get a grip on, though it had seemed great at the time), and I think that came through with the meandering nature of a couple of the scenes (particularly the scene with the PTA and the scene with Alex).
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

Ron Edwards


I'm not sure if this is coming in too late to be of use, but here are my thoughts on the troublesome Kicker.

QuoteHer kicker is that she's received blackmail photo's of her husband in compromising sexual positions with numerous men, including a member of her PTA chapter.

I figure that if someone sends a blackmail photo, they're either expecting the recipient to behave in a certain way already known to both sender and recipient, or they're going to provide more information as tactically as possible (i.e. at the right moment, after the initial shock) in order to gain a powerful negotiating position. Above all else, though, the sender must want something - either something the recipient has, or something the recipient is supposed to do, or both.

So this is a classic case of a Kicker which demands very thoughtful, deep prep - probably deeper than will be expressed during play. Who took the photos, who sent the photos, what do they want, and how do they communicate what they want? By writing such a Kicker, the player is expecting you to provide these answers, and the sooner the better. Blackmail makes a shitty mystery, because it's not about figuring stuff out, it's about redressing a power imbalance.

And there's another element: what's up with the husband? Such a Kicker also demands that you really consider this character as a major player. (And let's put aside the idea that the photos are faked; that's a cop-out.) Why is he involved in all this screwing around? What does he get from doing this, or possibly, what does he want such that doing this is a response to not getting it? Who is this person?

That's why it can be stalling to get such a thing into play, because the initial impression is absolutely correct that it's an excellent Kicker, but that doesn't mean you hop into play without making it your own to a very deep extent.

Best, Ron

The Dragon Master

I'm having issues with the reason for the blackmail photo, but the husband's lodge has been established as a local coven, and I'm figuring him as a Sorcerer. Another character on her relationship map is one of the sons, who's been established as the one who took the photo's. This one will definitely take more figuring to really nail down, and we haven't gotten together since the last session. It's looking like we'll only get about 2 or 3 more sessions run before the game's over (due to time constraints).
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony

The Dragon Master

Just a quick update. After one character creation session, and one play session, the game has been canceled. We have a group of about 8 players, and the game was going to be run alongside another (since an 8 PC Sorcerer session is more than I would be able to handle). Unfortunately 3 of the players have been unable to make it on any given night (different 3 each time) for the last month, and it's going to be another 2-4 weeks before we'll have enough players to split the group as we'd intended from the beginning.

At this point the campaign has lost what little momentum it had, so I'm putting an end to it. This just isn't the right group right now for a Sorcerer campaign (too many players for a Sorcerer campaign, not enough reliable players to break into two groups). This makes this the second time this has happened (sorcerer campaigns being put on hold due to otherwise reliable players becoming flaky for over a month at a time), and I expect what happened last time to happen again (once the campaign is done the "emergencies" go away). At any rate I'll just have to wait till I have a group who are more enthusiastic about the game before I'll be willing to try again.
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony